Toronto Raptors: How Adversity Wins a Championship
from Jennifer Chan at the Medium Sports/www.medium.com
Behind the Team Who Achieved the Impossible
On June 13, 2019, the Toronto Raptors made history defeating the reigning two-time champs, the Golden State Warriors, in Game 6 of the finals, giving them their first ever NBA Championship in their twenty-four year franchise history. Prior to this year, the Raptors had never even won the Eastern Conference title.
For those of you who watch basketball, you might have heard that this is not just a big deal for Torontonians but also for all of Canada. The Raptors are the only Canadian NBA team and, frankly, anything right now that unites us rather than divides us is something we’re all too happy to celebrate.
It’s important that I’m upfront about my bias: I’m from Toronto. I was born here, raised here and, after temporarily leaving to attend undergrad and law school, as an adult live and work in Toronto.
But this piece isn’t a love letter to Toronto. It’s my hunch as to why the Raptors defied the odds that were stacked against them.
Aside from Kawhi Leonard, none of the Raptors are epic mega stars. We don’t have Lebron James or Stephen Curry.
This was also Nick Nurse’s first year as head coach of the Raptors — and first year as head coach of any NBA team for that matter.
So what was the Raptors’ secret sauce?
How did they manage to win both their first Eastern Conference title and the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in the same season?
I suspect its the inner attributes of the individual players than their external attributes. In other words, their attitude, discipline, and mindset as opposed to their genetics.
Most people don’t know the back stories of some of the starting players. Raised in adversity, fuelled by internal ambition, these underdogs beat the odds in their personal lives long before they landed in the NBA.
It’s undeniable that the Raptors are a skilled team but it was heart, not height, that helped them secure their spot as world champs.
Meet the Team
Kyle Lowry grew up in north Philadelphia. His father left the family when he was young, forcing his mother to raise two kids alone. In a piece for the The Players Tribune, Lowry wrote:
When I was about seven, my father took me, my brother Lonnie and my half-sister Laquira to breakfast. There’s really only one thing I remember from that morning — it’s the last memory of seeing or dealing with my father.
His father’s absence affected his ability to be a teamplayer and take advise from coaches. In an interview with Grantland, Dave Distel, one of Lowry’s youth-league coaches, stated:
It took extraordinarily long for most men to even get a chance to talk to him because he just had that stigma in his head that somebody’s out to ____ me. Somebody’s out to screw me and I don’t trust anybody. The only people I trust is my mom, my grandmother, and my brother.”
CLICK HERE to read more/read all about all of the Toronto Raptors, from Jennifer Chan at The Medium Sports….A very good read, check it out………